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Lehigh Valley Health Network Welcomes SELECT Medical Students, Class of 2025

Lehigh Valley Health Network Welcomes SELECT Medical Students, Class of 2025

During the Student Clinician Ceremony (AKA white coat ceremony) on May 31, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) welcomed 58 SELECT medical students to the Lehigh Valley. The SELECT students have completed their first two years of studies at the University of South Florida (USF) Health Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa, Fla. They now begin their final two years of clinical education at LVHN.

“The white coat ceremony recognizes what these students have accomplished to get here, and their compassion and commitment to patient care,” says Robert Barraco, MD, Associate Dean for Educational Affairs, Lehigh Valley Campus of USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, and Chief Academic Officer, LVHN. “These students are training to not only to take excellent care of their patients, but to be leaders and agents of change in health care with emotional intelligence and empathy.”

During the ceremony, Barraco and Michael Rossi, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, LVHN, presented each student with a white lab coat, the symbol of professionalism and dedication to patient care. Barraco then administered the oath of commitment.

“You will face challenging days ahead,” said keynote speaker Kris Rooney, MD, Chief Wellness Officer, LVHN; Vice Chair of Education, Pediatrics; and Program Director, Pediatric Residency Program. “You will also hone your ability to remain positive and cope with these challenges. You already possess these qualities, and we will help you develop a deeper store of emotional empathy and resilience.”

Two students also spoke during the ceremony. Zeegan George, co-president of the class of ’24, offered words of advice to the new students.

"Be receptive and reciprocate. Show compassion to your educators, demonstrate unwavering dedication, and embody humanism on the wards and in the classroom,” George said. “Attend classes, arrive early, complete your assignments and submit your attendance quizzes. Pay attention to what your preceptors and instructors share with you during didactics, especially when you least want to be there in person. They are sharing hard-won wisdoms."

Ajay Doniparthi, class of ’25, shared the perspective of a student new to LVHN.

“Moving to Allentown and starting clerkships are big transitions for us. It’s welcoming to have a ceremony that formally recognizes and celebrates these steps in our journey,” Doniparthi said. “The two weeks of orientation have helped me feel supported by administration and have given me a strong sense of camaraderie with my classmates. There are a lot of unknowns in the next two years, but with patience and persistence, I’m confident our class will do an amazing job.”

Faculty teaching awards were also presented during the ceremony

Award recipients were:

SELECT stands for Scholarly Excellence, Leadership Experiences and Collaborative Training. The USF/LVHN affiliation creating SELECT began in 2011. The region’s highest ranked medical school according to U.S. News & World Report, SELECT offers a medical education curriculum that trains a new generation of 21st century physician leaders, preparing medical students to lead the accelerating pace of change in medicine.

Sidney Okon, Select Medical Student

Our Medical School Program (SELECT)

The Region’s Highest Ranked Medical School

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